Phillip Bellingham, 24, Mount Beauty
I participated in my first 7km Joey Hoppet when I was 6 years old. It was a tough race as it was held around the Mt McKay loop, in some fairly deep, slow snow. I was pretty happy to have my father there skiing beside me, to help motivate me around the course! Since then I have competed in either the 7km Joey or the 21km Birkie every year up until 2012, when I first took part in the 42km Kangaroo Hoppet.
My best achievement was last year, in the 42km Kangaroo Hoppet, when I came second overall behind Swiss skier Valerio Leccardi and was the first Australian across the line.
Over the last few years I have participated in two other Worldloppet races, the Norwegian Birkebeiner (54km) and the Austrian Dolomitenlauf (42km). There was a real vibe at the Norwegian Birkie because of the large number of people who were racing. Entries are capped at 17,000! It was the biggest and longest race that I’ve ever done and it was pretty awesome to be a part of it.
Three seasons ago in my first Kangaroo Hoppet, I skied for about 15km on a broken ski without even knowing it! My ski had broken underneath my binding and I just kept going, not realising why I was going so slowly! Later on in the race, I managed to get some other skis to finish the race on.
I started skiing when I was 18 months old and I have been very fortunate to able to travel the world as a member of the Australian Ski Team. Last year I represented Australia at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Hopefully I will get the chance to ski at the next Winter Olympic Games in South Korea in 2018.